Whether you are being fitted for sandals or strapping them on yourself here are some guidelines to insure a good fit. Every comfortable shoe starts with the footbed; generally speaking if any part of your foot hangs over the edge of a footbed you do not have a good fit. Assuming that your foot rests entirely within the footbed perimeters you should start by fastening the most distant sandal strap first. Straps that run across the toes should be fairly snug as this strap holds your foot inside your shoe.

After the first strap has been fastened move towards the straps covering the rest of your foot. Because your feet move when you walk anything covering the top of your foot needs to flex with your foot. Resting your index fingernail against your instep and placing the strap across the lower half of it will give a strap the room it needs to move when you do. Fasten the strap using whatever apparatus the sandal comes with before moving to the strap behind your ankle if there is one.

Heel straps function as a safety belt for your foot. If you step back quickly or unexpectedly your strap is there to help 'catch' your foot. Back straps add stability to sandals making them a better choice for people with balance issues. Sandals with adjustable back straps are also ideal for tourists, expectant mothers, children and people who wear sandals while participating in athletic activities. Heel straps need to move with your foot so make sure your heel strap is slightly loose around the back of your foot.

Sandals with straps are nice for people with feet that fall outside of the normal width/height range since those with narrow/trim feet can tighten them up while people with wide/tall feet can loosen them to accomodate their wider foot. At work I tell people that footwear should be good and comfortable right away. That same information applies here although if you are being fitted for good supportive shoes that you have not worn before there may be an adjustment period while your body learns to work with a new level of support.

Understanding how a sandal will wear is an important part of getting a good fit so make sure you know what you will be standing on before you purchase it. Sandals with cork or memory foam footbeds will eventually conform to an owner's foot creating a personalized level of comfort for whoever wears them. Never let anyone else wear footwear that retains the memory of your foot.

Properly cared for sandals can last for a number of years. This means treating them well when you are not wearing them. Moisture is the enemy of your footwear so keep your footbeds dry. If they do become wet leave your sandals in a cool dry place until they are thoroughly dry. Since your bare foot can produce several of ounces of sweat a day I recommend giving your sandals at least 24 hours of dry time before putting them on again.

If your sandals have a cork footbed pay attention to the shiny seal on the outer midsole. Cork will crumble if it dries and rot if it gets wet so you will need to re-seal any cork based footwear periodically. If your sandals have a suede footbed periodically brushing them will help loosen dust and accumulated debris. While you can use any small nylon bristled brush most household brushes do not work as well as the ones manufactured for this purpose.

Sandals are only as good as the straps around your feet so please take care of the materials used to manufacture your footwear. Leather sandals will lose surface moisture to the air around them, leather can be easily cleaned and there are various leather care products designed to keep sandal leather supple. Suede is more delicate and difficult to care for: using a non-aresol based protective spray will help stains from sinking into your sandals and make them easier to clean.

When you are being fitted for sandals remember that sandals are not designed to fit like dress or athletic shoes. Sandals that leave red marks on your feet do not fit well. If a strap is bothering you after a minute or two of wear in the shoe store it will definitely irritate your foot after several hours of continuous wear. If you have bunions, hammer toes, mallet toes, claw toes, rheumatoid arthritis, or recent surgical scars on your feet shop for sandals made from soft materials that can be stretched to accomodate your foot.

Whenever possible footwear should be tried on as you would be wearing it. Periodically treating yourself to a good pedicure will slough off dead skin cells, stimulate blood flow to your feet, remove callouses and in general improve the appearance of your feet. Footwear is designed to help protect your feet, if sandals are not a year round footwear choice for you please remember that the tops of your feet can easily get sunburnt and apply sunscreen accordingly.

Wearing shoes that are too small damages countless feet. Sadly many people force their feet into sandals that are too short, too narrow and they fasten the straps much too tightly across the tops and backs of their feet. Knowing what constitutes a good fit should help you avoid choosing inappropriately sized footwear. Hopefully you now have an excess of information about sandals and their straps however if you do have any further questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

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